Jane Pontarelli Column
By Jane Pontarelli
Meet Bocker, the Labradoodle, Author of
CHASING BOCKER’S TAIL
arie and Steve had a dream, they moved into there forever home. One thing was missing, a dog for Steve who was the lead singer with the Lester Lanin Orchestra. A new breed, Labradoodle, low shedding dog, was the right fit for Steve who had severe asthma. Enter Bocker who came into their lives in August 2003. Why the name Bocker? Marie and Steve grew up as NY Knick fans and already rescued a cat named Knicki. Bocker was special from the start. He was pensive, looking like he was thinking about his next move, always calm, with almost human eyes. The Bocker Head Tilt made him famous, like he understood every word, one was saying... Marie decided to send his photo to an animal agent in NYC. at age 18 months, Bocker landed his first paying, modeling for Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. He appeared in numerous print ads, TV commercials, and movies. His calm demeanor made him a natural for therapy work. People were amazed at his affect on children. Marie decided to take him for therapy dog certification and Bocker passed with flying colors. Bocker started to visit children in hospitals, senior homes, and took part in Tail Wagging Tutor programs, where children, who have trouble reading, especially in front of their teachers or peers, read to a dog. This program has helped raise reading levels and self-confidence in children. It has became Bocker’s motto, “Always ready to lend a helping paw.” After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, Marie’s niece’s husband who is a pediatric dentist in Newtown and 8 of the 20 children that were killed were his patients. She knew that Bocker could help in some way with this tragedy. With Bocker now adding author to his credits, with his book, Chasing Bocker’s Tail, they were able
162 • Resident • May 2016
to arrange a day for the Newtown children to meet “celebrity” Bocker the Labradoodle at their library and to read with him. This was the start of many
amazing friendships that will last for a lifetime. Bocker is part of Sandy Hook’s extended family and invited to their events. The big furry, always calm guy, just brings smiles wherever he goes. Several years ago Lulu and Bocker walked the runway at the Hotel Pennsylvania, for a doggy wedding, the weekend of the Westminster Dog Show. For they were in the Bridal Party. Bocker has changed Marie’s life . Yes, lots of fun doing all the photo shoots and meeting so many amazing people along the way, but in all honesty, the most rewarding part of Bocker’s life to Marie is how he has been able to help others and bring smiles just by walking into a room. He has become a spokes dog for NYS Animal Advocacy, being the voice against animal cruelty, and works to help homeless animals in search of their furever homes. Bocker’s bout with Lymphoma has helped Marie to learn about comparative oncology and to be involved so that others don’t have to go through what they did.
They have partnered with the Animal Cancer Foundation and it is there mission to increase awareness and to a find a cure. Bocker is still leading Marie down a new path and that he will be here until his work is done. She always tells people that Bocker has been her therapy dog first! He has definitely made a huge difference in Marie’s life and she knows he has touched so many. In 2011 Marie’s husband, and very best friend, passed away suddenly, and without Bocker, she did not know what direction her life would take. A close friend told her, “It’s not time that heals, it’s what you do with the time that heals. Marie knows she is the luckiest person in the world to have Bocker by her side, helping her heal… Lulu and I have seen Bocker in action, he truly is the gentle giant and we are blessed to have him in our lives. Thank Bocker for making the world a better place. www.bocker.tv | Facebook.com/bocker | Instagram.com/bockerdoodle
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Published on Apr 29, 2016
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